Every business owner needs to decide whether they’re going to do their bookkeeping themselves or hire someone to do it for them (either in-house or at an outside accounting firm). What you may not realize is that a third option exists that combines the two — an online bookkeeping service. For many, this option is the best of both worlds. In our experience, online bookkeeping is the way to go for business owners. With reputable companies like Bench, you can offload so much in a few simple clicks. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Here are the best online bookkeepers for 2019.
What to Know About Best Online Bookkeepers 2019
It’s important to differentiate between online bookkeeping software you can use to do it yourself (like Quickbooks) and an actual online platform that provides bookkeeping services as well as software. By choosing a platform like this, you’ll save on the typical cost of an outside accountant (or paying the salary of someone to do it for you in-house) while having access to the expertise of bookkeeping professionals.
With all the options to choose from, which is right for you?
Finding the Best Online Bookkeepers Services
The six best online bookkeepers services on this list fall into two categories. The first four offer more features for growing businesses. These are for owners who may wish to have the option of using the accrual method of accounting or add-on tax preparation services. They are willing to pay to keep everything in one place.
The other two offer many of the same elements for businesses just starting out or operating on a smaller scale. This is for owners who want to take advantage of the convenience of an online bookkeeping platform but are comfortable sticking with the cash method of accounting for their transactions and consulting a separate accountant for extra tax advice.
All provide monthly financial reports and online customer assistance, but the level of detail varies.
With a sleek interface geared toward modern consumers, bench.co is ideal for small businesses just getting started. The starter plan is aimed at businesses with expenses of less than $1,000 per month. Pricing ranges from $95/month to $295/month and up. Depending on your company’s total expenses, using this can keep fees within even the tightest budget.
Users upload data through the secure online portal and can call or e-mail with questions. For the first few months, you have scheduled meetings in which some of the finer points of your books can be discussed. This level of service is something many small businesses will appreciate.
Bench.co only offers the cash method of accounting. It is not the right option if your business keeps a running tab of “accounts receivable” or “accounts payable” (i.e. unpaid bills, either from your customers or from you). Note that you will need a CPA to prepare your taxes, as bench.co does not offer this service.
However, a unique perk is that bench.co bookkeepers will connect with your CPA to give them the information they need, without having to bother you come tax season. This makes bench.co a good choice for small businesses with uncomplicated receipts and tax treatment. Owners can keep their focus on growing profits and rest assured that the books are being taken care of by solid professionals.
2. KPMG Spark
The second platform that provides services for businesses using the accrual method of accounting, KPMG Spark is priced to this more complex scale. The most basic plan starts at $195 per month. But if you’re using the accrual method, KPMG Spark is much more expensive, making Bookkeeper.com a better value.
The real value in KPMG Spark is for small businesses using the cash method, but processing a high volume in transactions. KPMG Spark bases its pricing on the number of bank accounts connected rather than the number or size of transactions.
So, if you have a wide variety of transactions processing, in both large and small dollar amounts and in numbers that vary cyclically, this is a great choice. You can also add on tax preparation. Unlike any other service, it includes unlimited consulting with a CPA.
If your business involves special tax issues and you want to use an online bookkeeping service but have access to advice from one of the “Big 4” tax advisory services, this is the service for you.
What sets inDinero apart are the features catering to small businesses that sell “things” rather than services. inDinero provides both bookkeeping and tax accounting services, as do Bookkeeper.com and KPMG Spark. The difference is in the details. You can use the inDinero software to track when you purchase, receive, or sell goods.
Like the other two, customers can choose between either the cash or accrual method of accounting with inDinero. They can also utilize inventory tracking for physical goods. These extra features come with a more expensive price tag though. The starter plan runs $310 per month.
And unlike Bookkeeper.com and KPMG Spark, the platform does not provide payroll services. But if you run a business that focuses on buying and selling goods rather than services, inDinero is an option specially tailored for you.
Bookkeeper 360 is the only service on this list that provides an option for small businesses looking to start off using an online platform but ultimately transitions to doing the bookkeeping in-house. Users can purchase the “Hourly and Project Plan” to receive assistance in setting up and learning to use Xero (an alternative accounting software to Quickbooks) before making this leap.
The other pricing tiers offer services for businesses requiring either daily, weekly, or monthly bookkeeping. This makes it easy to find a plan suited to the specific needs of your business. Payroll and tax services are also offered. This makes it a great choice for a small business owner who wants the ability to step up or down in the level of outside service required.
If your company is already conducting sizeable transactions and you want the benefit of tax assistance, but you prefer to use an online platform rather than hire someone in-house, Bookkeeper.com is your best bet. Unlike many of the other services on this list, Bookkeeper.com provides bookkeeping using either the cash or accrual method of accounting. This is helpful as it doesn’t limit you solely to the cash method.
It tracks all income, expenses, payroll, and taxes. You can choose to add tax preparation for your business for an additional fee. The monthly pricing plan is based on a number of transactions. Most of the other platforms on this list set prices based on total cash flow.
This is a benefit if your business processes high-value transactions, rather than a multiplicity of low-value transactions.
For good value and basic tools, Merritt Bookkeeping can’t be beaten. The flat rate of $190 per month is within reach for most small business owners. Merritt automatically pulls your bank statements each month. You don’t have to remember to upload everything.
The platform uses Quickbooks to record the data, as do other services on this list. However, it provides a simpler interface for customers in case you need to adjust anything. This platform is best for those businesses prioritizing ease of use and willing to forgo frills.